Proposals from six producing companies have been shortlisted, from 62 bids, for the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s new £175,000 annual performance award. The money is for the creation of a new performance piece in which professionals will work with disadvantaged communities, to create a “spectacular production” with local people.
National Theatre Wales will create a poetry-based theatre production led by young British Somalis in Butetown, Cardiff; National Theatre of Scotland is proposing a large-scale participatory event on the Shetlands; Birmingham Opera Company will produce an interactive virtual version of a Brecht/Weill opera; Wildworks will work in Cornwall and London to create ‘Chimera’, London’s Young Vic is planning a production inspired by the film Beijing Bicycle, with indoor and outdoor performances on bikes; and Duckie will involve homeless and disenfranchised men in creating ‘Penny for the Guy’, an outdoor public performance on Bonfire night.
The aim of the award is to pioneer new ways of working through the arts with disadvantaged communities. The winner will be announced in June, when work will start to develop the production with a £75,000 grant. The final production in 2013 will be awarded a further £100,000. The idea has been piloted through support for two projects developed by Manchester International Festival which will open in July 2011: ‘That Day We Sang’, devised by Victoria Wood with local children and ‘Sacred Sites’, a series of concerts in religious buildings used by five different faiths in the city.
Andrew Barnett, UK Director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, said: “Our aim is that on-going connections should be established between participants and communities with demonstrable social and cultural benefits. To this end there will be a careful evaluation process so that the lessons learned inform the development of new models of working that can be replicated elsewhere.”